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What’s the difference between talking to a friend or talking to a therapist?

Updated: Mar 1

There is nothing more beautiful than knowing that we can count on a friend or a

family member without reservations. They both want the best for the other, but on

certain matters, they may not know how to help you and they may advise you

based on their own experience. While this s very well-intentioned, it usually does not

help.


Therefore, you may feel that you need to seek another type of help, something professional – like therapy. It is normal to be hesitant at first, but when you feel

stuck, you may take that step for your own well-being. People who want to learn

more, usually have questions such as the following:


Is it worth investing my time in therapy?

• Is it worth investing my money?

• What benefits shall I get?

Attending therapy is much more than just talking about things that happen to you. It

is learning to know yourself in ways that you cannot do with a friend.

It is about understanding how your thoughts, your behaviors, and your beliefs impact your day-to-day, affecting your ability to think and make decisions in an objective and informed way. This type of exploration cannot be achieved with someone close. Therefore, a professional counselor may be the best person to help you.


Now let's see what a professional counselor can offer as opposed to a friend:


• A counselor is a professional who has studied human behavior and mental processes for over 6 years to be ready to help you.


• While a friend may offer advice depending on what they would

do if you were in your position, a counselor can offer you support based on identified needs, and your goals.


• A counselor is a skilled listener who is interested in your story, and wants to help you discover your challenges, your defense mechanisms, and your strengths.


• A counselor is consistent and works with you on the goals that have been identified, but with a friend, you may feel that you are going in circles without meeting your needs.


• Being in therapy implies a commitment to regular sessions, with enough time to work totally on You, but with a friend, he or she may not always be available.


• Regular sessions allow both your counselor and you to resume where you left, so there

are follow-up in every session and the counselor will walk with you at your own pace.


• Therapy is a non-judgmental, non-blame experience, and it is all about you. With

friends and family, unfortunately, you may sometimes feel judged or blamed, and

or they may talk more about themselves than about you.


• Another important difference is that conversations with friends or family are not

necessarily confidential, something that is guaranteed in therapy except in specific

cases that are discussed with you.


So, yes, while talking to a counselor is very different from talking to a loved one, what they offer is still precious. Without them, our lives would be empty. We will always be genuinely grateful for being in times of need.


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